11 Stand Up Paddle Boarding Tips For Absolute Beginners
Stand up paddleboarding is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable water sports for those with zero skill level. While beginners to the sport only really require some swimming ability to get started, it helps to know some of the best stand up paddle board beginner tips, especially as you’ll be able to improve your technique at a faster rate. This sport, which requires the use of a board that resembles a type of surfboard, is rapidly growing in popularity. If you fancy giving it a try, have a read of our top 11 stand up paddle boarding tips for beginners and start hitting the water with confidence.
1. Choose the Correct Equipment
Like any type of sport, it’s important to select the correct equipment. Not only will it keep you safe, but it will also give you the best experience possible. Beginner paddle boards tend to be quite big. However, it’s best to opt for a board that is going to be easy to balance on. A wide, thick paddle board is beginner-friendly, whereas a touring SUP is ideal for those who have been in the water before yet are still relatively new to the sport. Inflatable paddleboards are also a popular choice as they are easy to transport and tend to be more affordable to purchase.
As with any board, remember to take into consideration your body type when choosing your preferred design. Additionally, you’ll also require a paddle which should be around 10 inches larger than your height. This will prevent you from having to bend over to paddle. For your personal safety, a life vest or personal floatation device is highly recommended as this will ensure you are completely safe in the water. It’s always a good idea to know water safety though, as this will ultimately save your life if there is an emergency.
2. Incorporate A Leash
A leash is essential for your safety in the water. Tethering yourself to your board with a leash will help you if you start feeling tired or get into trouble. It will keep you attached to your board, so you don’t lose it, and it ensures you have your board to cling onto in times of danger. There are a variety of leashes available for paddle boarding. When searching for the best one, consider a high-quality leash that won’t easily break in the water. You also need something that will detach quickly from your board too, particularly in situations where you may get tangled underwater. You can select from coiled or straight leashes which can be attached to your ankle or calf. The right one for you will depend on the style of paddling you’re doing.
3. Use the Right Paddling Technique
Using the correct paddling technique ensures you’re going to get the very best experience as a beginner. Furthermore, it will help you to balance on your board. When on your board, you should stand straight with your hands holding the end which doesn’t have the blade. Next, using both hands, lift the paddle above your head in a horizontal position. Place the shaft on your head so that it’s parallel to your shoulders. The arm lifting the grip should be at a 90-degree angle. With your other arm, move it along the shaft until it is also at the same angle. This positioning will help you to stay balanced and prevent any splashing.
4. Know How to Complete Your First Paddle Stroke
To move forward on your paddle board, you need to place the paddle in the water on both sides of your board. If your first stroke is on the left, then your left hand should be placed lower onto the paddle shaft. The paddle should be facing away from you with your arms straight. Next, push the paddle down into the water with your right hand (this should be placed on top of the paddle). The blade should go under the water’s surface and back towards your ankles as it moves out of the water. Your very first strokes should be short and placed close to your paddle board. Do around 5 strokes on one side before switching to the opposite side of your board.
5. Use Your Core
Paddling is best achieved with your core muscles. This may sound strange at first but using these strong muscles prevents you from tiring quickly. It’s also a great workout for your mid-section, helping to move your board with more power. To use your core, your hips should move with the paddle as your shoulders slightly rotate. Your paddle should be kept vertical and in a straight line as you move from side to side, front to back. Rotating your hips and shoulders will add more power to your strokes, helping you to paddle forward with ease.
6. Keep Your Chin Up
Your natural reaction as a beginner paddle boarder is to look down to see what your paddle is doing. However, you must keep your head up to obtain optimal stability. You need to stand straight with your legs slightly bent as you paddle, keeping a good posture so that you stay balanced on your board.
7. Find Out the Weather Forecast
While getting out into cold water is proven to have lots of benefits, poor weather conditions can hamper an SUP session, especially when trying to perfect your beginner paddle boarding technique. It’s essential to check the wind direction before you go into the water. If there are high winds, your board is likely to travel in all directions and you’ll struggle to stay in control. Similarly, high winds and heavy rain will make for an unpleasant experience. It’s much more practical to learn paddle boarding when there are no waves or wind to worry about. You’ll be able to practice balancing on your board and maintaining your stability. If you ever get into trouble with the weather, it’s important to lie in the middle of your board so that your stomach is touching it. You can then start paddling with your arms.
8. Don’t Face the Wrong Way
One of the best stand up paddle boarding tips for beginners is to face the correct way. Many new paddle boarders end up facing the wrong direction, especially as it’s difficult to know which is the front end of your board. To face the right direction, ensure the fins are at the back of the board. This will help you to keep your board straight rather than wobbling.
9. Avoid Big Waves
If you’re a thrill-seeker, it can be tempting to face large waves. As a beginner, it’s best to only tackle smaller waves until you grow your paddle boarding experience. You’ll be able to understand how powerful the water can be, as well as knowing the flow of the water.
10. If You Fall, Move from The Board
It’s only natural that you’ll fall off your paddle board a few times until you get the hang of it. When you fall, it’s important to fall away from the side of the board to avoid injury. Paddle boards are heavy and can easily smack you in the face if you fall too close to them. To help your balance, make sure you position yourself in the centre of the board, kneeling down. As you move onto your knees, take a few paddle strokes in the water on either side of your board. Next, gradually begin to stand with one foot at a time. Remain in the middle of the board with your feet shoulder-width apart. Maintain a slight bend in the knees as you are standing. Keep your core centred as you begin to paddle.
11. Ensure You Have Lots of Space to Move
If you’re paddling in a group, you don’t want to get too close to each other. Not giving each other enough space to move can create unexpected waves, as well as causing you to bump into another paddle boarder. Ensure you have lots of space in the water so that your board can move freely around. Having ample space will also keep you safe from harm if you fall off your board. There is lots of room in the water so try to maintain a good distance from other paddleboarders.
Use Our Stand Up Paddle Boarding Tips To Enhance Your SUP Skills
By utilising these top stand up paddle board tips for beginners, you can start to improve your SUP skills. Make a note of your favourite stand up paddle board tips and tricks in this article and be sure to practise them once you’ve got adequate time to spend on your board. The key to getting better is to keep practising. With a little time and effort, you’ll be able to show off your amazing paddle techniques to your friends and family.
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